CES 2021 – Cool gadgets and new tech for the new year

CES 2021 QLED Event

Another year, another Consumer Electronics Show, or was it? This year, the most popular technology show was moved to a virtual platform where instead of traveling to Las Vegas, waiting in endless taxi lines at the convention center and of course, being trampled by its eager participants in the hallways, escalators and press conferences, we got to enjoy the whole thing by logging onto a website. I might never go back!

This time, my team and I had the time to evaluate the new technologies by sitting in our home offices and visit the virtual meetings, reading articles and watching videos, you know, like a regular day at the office on any other day of the year. What we do miss are those awesome Vegas meals and casual interactions, those stumble upon encounters with crazy gadgets and gizmos that are always guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Other than those, here are some of the interesting technologies and trends we saw this year.

Let’s start with Samsung and their amazing robot, the helper we all wanted and needed during the pandemic. Samsung always has one of the largest sections of the central hall at the convention center so this year, they did their best to showcase their tech leadership virtually. A robot that’s smart enough to recognize dirty dishes and place them in the dishwasher using artificial intelligence to anticipate your every need. I like the Bot Handy, the home robot that recognizes shapes and materials to make intelligent decisions, set the table, organize your laundry and much more.

On the TV front, I liked their advances on micro LEDs and upscaling technology the new line of NeoQLED TVs from Samsung is pretty impressive. These TVs use much smaller LEDs, for those of you not familiar, LEDs are light-emitting diodes, those teeny-weeny little lights that illuminate your screen from behind. Now, they are even tinier, which means that the contrast ratios are five times higher, providing significantly higher picture quality. All this is powered by a new Quantum Processor that uses artificial intelligence with upscaling capabilities that turns traditional content into 8K content for crisper visuals. All of this with optimized immersive audio to round up the experience. If I get my hand on one of these babies, I might never leave the house.

Laptops have also had an important role this year at CES 2021 by allowing us to stay connected from home in the new super accelerated digital economy. HP showcased their Elite Dragonfly Max laptop with AI-driven audio software, four wide-range microphones and a 5-megapixel front camera to turn your Zoom meetings into a high-definition super cinema. This laptop packs a punch while the finish is elegant and refined. The design incorporates recycled materials that include what would have been plastics bound for the ocean. All this comes with a brilliant Eyesafe display, optional 5G connectivity and strong security features in a highly portable and versatile x360 design.

My Passport drive
My Passport SSD Hard Drive from WD

One of the challenges I found this year has been around storage. All the work being done remotely and with all the files, videos and photos, I’ve been constantly struggling with running out of space. WD announced a new My Passport drive that’s music to my ears.  A My Passport SSD portable hard drive with up to 4TB capacity. When it comes to performance, the blazing fast NVMe technology with read speeds of up to 1050MB/s** and write speeds of up to 1000MB/s** enables everyday content creators, curators and hobbyists to keep productivity flowing. The design is simple but bold, it feels durable and the best part is that it’s shock and vibration resistant with a bonus drop resistance of up to 6.5 feet. Not that you want to drop your hard drive, but it’s good to know that in case of an accidental drop, your files are safe.

The pandemic has also changed many behaviors and has honestly turned me into some sort of hypochondriac. I’m sure I’m not alone. That’s why it’s good to see companies like Moen re-vamping their smart kitchen faucets. You can start the water flowing with a wave, an app and even your voice using a smart speaker. Actually, you can tell Alexa something like, “Alexa, tell Moen to give me two cups of hot water.” How about that?

Another company called Glissner came up with a phone disinfection station appropriately named CleanPhone. Designed for businesses, it’s billed as the world’s most advanced touchless smartphone sanitizer. Drop the phone in the top, even with a case, and it uses UV-C to zap 99.99% of bacteria/viruses in just 20 seconds. Then it ejects it, like a high-tech toaster. Not bad, knowing that your phone many times is dirtier than a public toilet. Not that I’ve been to many public toilets lately, but you get the visual. Clean your phone with this gadget or use an old fashion sanitizing wipe but clean it!

On the hygiene front, Phillips brought the Sonicare 9900 Prestige, a smart toothbrush that’s a CES 2021 Innovation Awards honoree. It’s Philips’ first toothbrush to automatically adapt to your brushing, in real-time, so it can, for example, lower the intensity if brushing with too much pressure. Also shows you on an AI-powered app where you’re brushing and where you’re not. I find this especially useful these days where my visits to the dentist have been postponed for a while.

That’s all for today folks. Of course, there are way too many gadgets to fit into just one article and there are many more to come. It’s good to know that the innovative spirit is alive and well and that people continue to invent and move forward despite the circumstances.

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